Don’t You Remember :
The Effects of BiPolar Depression on Memory
If I had a $1 for every time I had someone ask me these three words, “Don’t You Remember?”, I would be a millionaire. The frustrating thing is I wasn’t always this way. I remember going all through high school without a calendar or planner to remind me of tests or work hours. Even in my early 20’s I didn’t need anything to help me remember my class schedule or work schedule (both of which were full time commitments.) I didn’t miss doctor appointments and if I made a commitment I remembered it. Then around my mid 20’s something changed in my brain and now I am lucky to remember to brush my teeth every morning.
Initially I chalked it up to getting old, having kids, and just being plain busy but as time wore on even the best strategies for remembering things weren’t working. That is when I started looking at the effects that bipolar depression has on memory. I was relieved to find out that I wasn’t just me but memory and cognition problems are often reported by people with bipolar disorder.
Memory problems are noted during mania periods, depression periods and even during the “in-between” stages. I have noticed that during manic phases, I am often operating at such a fast pace that it is as if my brain cannot process all the information around me nor can it retrieve the information I am looking for fast enough. There are different effects of the bipolar depression phase. Your mind is preoccupied with negative thoughts and other worries that it cannot concentrate on the things it needs to remember. Additionally, certain medications used to treat bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety can increase the chance of memory problems. One of the more notable medications that causes this is Lithium.
There is good news however when it comes to memory problems with bipolar and that is that not everyone will experience it. It is usually episodic and if you can decrease your cycling you have a good chance of decreasing your memory problems. I have found that there are times my memory is like it was when I was a kid but other times I rely on a few simple tricks to fight back against the effects of bipolar depression on my memory.
- Write appointments, events, etc in a Calendar – I use the electronic version on my smartphone which I can also access from my computer. We have it as a shared family calendar so even if I forget to check it, I have two back-ups who are watching out for me. You can also keep a hard copy calendar if that is more your style. Find a method that works for you and keep with it.
- Carry a notepad or take notes on your phone. If you have an important thought, idea, or need to make a list you will have something to write it down on. You don’t need to worry about remembering it later. There are also “note taking” apps for smartphones which allow you to make lists, jot down ideas, etc. Sometimes I will even text my husband a message with a note for myself. This way I have it in my phone.
- Slow down when trying to remember things. I often get frustrated when I can’t remember things but I find that if I take a deep breath and slow my thoughts down that it will usually come to me.
These are just some tricks that I have found to help me combat being asked, “Don’t You Remember?” on a daily basis. They are not fool-proof and I know there are things I will never remember but remembering somethings is better than nothing.
Do you have any tips for remembering things and keeping your memory sharp? Let us know in the comments below.
Thank you for reading a story from #BehindTheBlogger Hop. Every 2 weeks a group of bloggers is given a writing prompt.These prompts are very open ended, so our bloggers can write about whatever they desire. The main rule is that their blog post directly relates to the topic of that week. The point of this hop is for our readers to get to know us on a personal level.
Please hop along and read all of the blog posts in this weeks hop. Just click the links below. If you want real and raw emotion, then you will find it here. After you read each post, please comment and share. We want to get to know you too!